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Deep Space Stations...


SOC-14 1K
Good morning, All,

With my recent work in the Empty Quarter sector, I've run into a problem where the Lesser Rift effectively cuts off movement between the coreward half and the rimward half of the sector, save for two Jump-5 routes. Since J5 traders are a rare commodity, and rarer still are the PCs that have access to one, I am considering falling back on the concept of a Deep Space Station: a large space station deep in interstellar space at some midpoint between the two distant worlds, which ships with a more limited jump range can use as a stepping stone to cross a rift.

I recall having seen mention of them occasionally in various Traveller products, but actual material on them has been kinda slim. Does anyone know of any canonical references I could check out?

Alternately, if there are no canonical references that provide details, I guess I should turn the conversation to such matters. How big would such a station be? How would it operate? How would it obtain its fuel? What would it charge travellers to help support itself, since obviously everything is brought in by jump-capable vessels? What kind of equivalent starport or spaceport rating would such a station have? What's the high end of such things? What's the low end? What hazards are posed to a ship using such a station? How far apart would they be placed in a rift?

I think that should cover the basics, at least to start with.

Thanks in advance,
They could be done, but you'd have to capture a good number of comets and asteroids or station a good number of fuel tanks there. Maybe both...

Did you ever get that thing I sent you?
Perhaps the easiest thing to do is to have a large tanker starship make the jump into Interstellar space, in its hold are many thousands of tons of liquid hydrogen. The crew then turns on its locator beacon so other starships can find it. The tanker ship has docking ports so other starships can dock with it, and theirs a little promenade where other ships crew can pass the time while their starships are refueling. When the ships hold gets low, it sends out a scout ship back to port and calls another tanker ship to replace the current one that's being depleted. It takes 1 week to send the scout ship back with word calling for another tanker and another week for the tanker to arrive. Or perhaps the company should just send a tanker ship when it believes the one stationed out their is running out of fuel. The idea is to guarantee that there is always a supply of jump fuel out their to service ships with.

If you want two refueling stations in a row spread out at 2 parsec intervals, then you would need to send out 5 tankers, 4 of them to refuel the jump tanks of the 5th tanker so it can make an additional jump 1 further 2 parsecs. The 4 remaining tankers have enough jump fuel to return to port and they do so. The 5th tanker has enough fuel to make 1 additional jump back of 2 parsecs, where it will meet 4 more fully fueled tanker ships to refuel it so it can return to port. To get 1 tanker 4 parsecs out, you need 5 tankers.

To go 6 parsecs out, you need a total of 21 tankers just to keep on fully fueled an in position 6 parsecs from the nearest star system. We'll assume 6 parsecs is the mid point so with a total of 54 tankers you can position at least 1 refueling station every 2 parsecs between 2 star systems that are separated by 12 parsecs.
OK, there is mention of Deep Space Logistics, LIC waystations in EA0005 Scout Cruiser on p23 of the PDF for a sketch of a rift-crossing deep space station.

Constantine Thomas wrote two excellent articles entitled Brown Dwarfs and Interstellar Wanderers for JTAS(SJG) that cover empty hexes and objects within them.

Another JTAS(SJG) article that may be of use is by Mark Gellis and is entitled Oort Clouds which details settlements on these objects.

And lastly is Islands in the Sky - Human Exploration and Settlement of the Oort Cloud by Richard P. Terra and reprinted in Analog's Islands in the Sky, edited by Stanley Schmidt and Robert Zubrin.

I threw in the stuff on Oort Clouds because the articles detail the most likely objects for use as deep space stations - escaped cometary bodies. Oh, and I think there is mention of Calibration Points in TNE, The Regency Sourcebook for rift-crossing.

Do you have the challenge magazine with MT stats for an orbital city & grav city - it is associated with an adventure set in the marches. There is a nice 200ktn station although it is solar powered. GURPS starports is also useful. Also check TNE thread "Useful Derelicts" on COTI for some stations.

I think the port should be at least class C - you can always import extra parts.

Have you considered a J5 tender ship - see GURPS Aliens book with Aslan. The tender can carry cargo modules or clamp onto smaller starships to take them accross the rift. The tenders are also useful as a naval auxiliary.

Given the trade potential, and naval usage, any station or tender service will probably be subsidized.